Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE DAY OF THE JUGOSLAVIST - 1969 Yugoslav assassination in Australia

Life imitates art 
The day of the Jackal - The day of the Jugoslavist!
TEAM UZUNOV exclusive - we uncover a Yugoslav Intelligence (UDBa) assassination made to look like a  lovers quarrel in Melbourne, Australia, March 1969.

We discover Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) documents which reveal a story within a story, a film noir that Quentin Tarantino would be proud of. In fact, a pot-boiler that has British author Freddie Forsyth written all over it…In his action thriller novel, The Day of the Jackal (1971)--a work of fiction woven around real life events, the assassination attempt on French President General Charles De Gaulle in 1963--the assassin deliberately picks up a man in a Paris gay bar, kills him and hides out in his flat (apartment), knowing the authorities would not look for him there. see link.
Njegoslav “Yago” Despot - art imitates life ?!
Two years before the Forsyth book came out, in 1969 - the mysterious murder of Melbourne private detective and lawyer Njegoslav “Yago Despot, 44 ! 
Despot, a gay Croat and his partner, Charles Hughes, 39, were found murdered, professional execution style, with both victims suffering a single bullet to the head. At the time the Victorian State Police had publicly ruled out a political motivation, but the declassified intelligence reports by ASIO explored the Yugoslav intelligence connection. 
Post mortem revealed they had been shot with a .22 calibre pistol or rifle fitted with a silencer.
One of the victims was found naked head down in the bathtub, the other in the lounge room.
ASIO managed to connect the dots and discovered that Despot had been pressured to spy for Yugoslav intelligence, which he declined and informed ASIO about it. He had earlier shared a house in St Kilda, Melbourne inner beach suburb with a mysterious stranger called Borivoj Viskovic, identified as an UDBa officer. 
Did UDBa murder both men because Despot refused to act as an informer? Was it a homophobic killing ? Homosexuality was outlawed in Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1959 and only decriminalised after the collapse of Yugoslavia. In Serbia it was 1994 and Macedonia in 1997. The motivation will probably remain unknown. The murder is still officially unsolved.

What we do know is Despot came from a large Roman Catholic Croat family and emigrated in Australia in 1959 at the same time as the Yugoslav communist authorities outlawed homosexuality. He was active in a migrant organisation in Melbourne called the Yugoslav Settlers Association, a front used by Yugoslav intelligence (UDBa). 
UDBa conducted a bloody campaign of murdering emigre dissidents, mainly Croat nationalists and separatists based in Western Europe. However, a number of Serb and Albanian nationalists were assassinated abroad.
Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic communist federation made up of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins plus sizeable populations of ethnic Hungarians and Albanians. It fell apart in 1991 because of Serbian nationalism. 
From 1944 to 1980, it was ruled by Marshal Josip Broz Tito, a former Stalinist who broke with Moscow in 1948, and cleverly played a balancing act between East and West during the Cold War.

The West turned a blind eye to many of the UDBa assassinations abroad because of Cold War strategic considerations.

Yago Despot had no history of any kind of Croat nationalist activity but had been a popular figure in Melbourne community amongst the Croats, Serbs, Macedonians who had emigrated from Yugoslavia to Australia. 


Victoria Police Homicide Squad confirmed the double homicide is still a 47 year old cold case…
A Victoria Police spokesman released this statement to TEAM UZUNOV:
“The case is unsolved and is considered a “cold case’, although not currently active, which means that the case file is in storage, pending the receipt of any new information.

Friday, July 15, 2016


MACEDONIA - BACK TO THE FEDERATION? - United States supports Macedonia’s independence. by Sasha Uzunov.

During the unfolding crisis in Macedonia, as the tiny Balkan state tries to navigate the stormy political waters, some of Macedonia’s ruling classes have gone to the extreme of wanting to return to the “certainty" of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, then a unit within federal Yugoslavia (1944-91), which if it were to be seriously implemented today would lead to de facto Serb federal control and certain civil war in Macedonia.

US EMBASSY BACKS MACEDONIA’S SOVEREIGNTY - doesn’t support call for Macedonia to return to defacto Serbian federal rule.

Mr Joseph Mellott a spokesman for the US Ambassador in Macedonia, Mr Jess Baily, gave the following statement to TEAM UZUNOV:

"For more than two decades, the United States has fully supported the Republic of Macedonia’s sovereignty, independence, and integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.”

Critics of the US, including pro Russian supporters in Macedonia, have accused the US government of trying to destablise Macedonia as part of a so called “hybrid war.” The argument goes that it is an attempt to force Macedonia to change its name to appease Greece and the push to remove VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski as part of that plot. Supporters of the US position argue that the demonstrations which have racked Macedonia for over year, beginning with the release of taped phone conversations detailing alleged corruption by Gruevski are simply a push for clean government.

However, TEAM UZUNOV, in its continued study of Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia, hopefully a future book in the offing, takes a look at the continued obsession with Yugoslavism in the country. For many Macedonians, genuine internationalism is often confused with Belgrade urban culture, hence the various contradictions, paradoxes - either intentional or unintentional.

The US Embassy was contacted to clarify its position over contradictory and ambiguous comments over Serbian nationalism made by a leading Macedonian pundit Mr Borjan Jovanoski, who claims to be pro US, and his 2015 call on social media for the “return” of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia - a federal unit within Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1991 - but under Serbian hegemony. A call for the current independent Republic of Macedonia to return to the SRM would in effect mean defacto Serbian federal rule and provoke certain civil war in Macedonia if it were ever implemented. You have to ask why would 99.9% of Macedonia’s Albanians want to return to defacto Serbian rule? Why would a vast majority of Macedonians want to as well, when they voted for independence in 1991.

On 8 September 1991 Macedonia became independent from Yugoslavia after the earlier departures of Slovenia and Croatia. Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic started a war in trying to stop Slovenia and Croatia from leaving and with the intent of creating a Greater Serbia, which would include Macedonia. Milosevic became bog down in his wars in Croatia and Bosnia and had to let Macedonia reluctantly go as he couldn’t sustain a second or third front.

According to leading British journalist, Misha Glenny, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia within the Yugoslav federation had a bad human rights record.

You're trying to present a modern image to the world yet by calling for a return to the Socialist Republic of Macedonia which according to Misha Glenny, treated Albanians far worse than in an independent Macedonian state…you end up with a huge contradiction. It makes no sense. It doesn’t help promote inter-ethnic harmony. The SRM also mistreated Macedonian dissidents. Yugoslavia was after all a one party state. In 1959, Tito’s Yugoslavia outlawed homosexuality, which was only decriminalised in 1997 in an independent Macedonian state.

In 2001 an ethnic Albanian uprising occured in Macedonia as a result of the 1999 NATO war in supporting Kosovo breaking away from Serbia.

As for solving the name dispute with Greece, that is simply a fallacy. Leading Greek academic Spyrdion Sfetas, writing for a Serbian academic journal, Balcanica, in 2012, made Greece’s position clear over the Socialist Republic of Macedonia during the Karamanlis period in the late 1970s, post Junta.

Sfetas explains Greece refused to recognise a Macedonian minority in Greece because it would be implicit recognition of a Macedonian nation, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1978-79.

The Greek formula was to recognise the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia via the capital Belgrade, and playing upon the old Serb-Greek relationship. The question remains how could the use of SRM possibly resolve the name dispute now? Its nonsensical to think that Greece would budge under any circumstance.

UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS - Both sides of Macedonian politics, the government of VMRO-DPMNE and the Opposition, SDSM. are to a large extent pro Belgrade. It’s stating the bleeding obvious.

In 2014, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski surprised a large number of people by announcing a joint embassy sharing agreement with Serbia.

The last time Macedonia “shared” any kind of diplomacy was when it was in Borjan Jovanovski’s SRM.

Gruevski, who was deposed as Prime Minister last year, has cultivated a close relationship with Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic, a one time ultra Serb nationalist and disciple of madman Vojislav Seselj. Vucic maintains he is a “changed man.” You would think that as a way of outflanking Gruevski, SDSM would have a fresh foreign policy - say draw closer to Croatia, which is both an EU and NATO member, but Opposition Leader Zoran Zaev’s strategy is to copy Gruevski, to out-Belgrade the Belgradist.

Criticisms of Serbian nationalism, as a result, have largely been muted in Macedonia by both sides. In 2014, in an outburst reminiscent of a Jihadist hate preacher, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Irinej blamed gay people for causing the massive floods ravaging Serbia and other parts of the Balkans. Such views outlandish views found fertile soil in Macedonia via the powerful state controlled Serbian tabloid media which, which even Borjan Jovanovski acknowledges, yet no Macedonian LGBT activist held a protest outside the office of Irinej’s representative in Macedonia, Zoran Vraniskovski. In effect, Serbian homophobia was given a free pass in Macedonia.

A year later, the Serbian High Court rehabilitated the controversial World War II leader Draza Mihailovic, a rival of Marshal Tito, an advocate of a Greater Serbia who in 1943-44 sent an army known as the Vardar Chetnik Corps (VCC) into Macedonia to destroy Macedonia’s Partizan resistence movement, an unofficial alliance of Macedonian communists and nationalists who had banded together to fight the German and Bulgarian occupiers. The VCC was wiped out by the outstanding leadership of Macedonian Partizan commander Hristjan Todorovski-Karpos.

Neither the supporters of the Macedonian government nor the Opposition protested outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the Mihailovic move.

Earlier this year, when the diminutive Croat Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir arrived in Skopje to lend her support to Gruevski, she was set upon within a second by protestors. Yet no protests have ever been held in front of the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the lengthy and deep relationship between Gruevski and Vucic. see link 


Gruevski mouthpiece, the bombastic TV host Milenko Nedelkovski, who says he is a Macedonian patriot, has associated with ultra Serb nationalist headcases with links to Milorad Dodik, the paranoid ruler of the statelet, Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Dodik has created a whole routine ranting about the “evil West” but spends a small fortune in paying US lobbyists.

Milenko show in Belgrade !

When a Polish documentary film about ethnic Macedonians in Greece was shown at the European Parliament, neither Milenko nor Borjan attended nor even publicised the film. But their focus has been more on developments in Belgrade. It tells you of the extent of Serbian cultural hegemony when a Macedonian “patriot” Milenko Nedelkovski and a Macedonian “internationalist” take different paths but have the same cultural destination - Belgrade !

This obsession with Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia is actually counter-productive: first it tells the world that Macedonians are not serious about their independence gained 25 years ago; and secondly it creates a polarised society - pulled in two directions: Belgrade and Pristina, with no middle ground to tie Macedonians and Albanians together.

Some Macedonians have in recent times confused Macedonian patriotism with Serbian nationalism over a fear of Albanian separatism in Macedonia, event though the major tenent of Serbian nationalism is clearly anti-Macedonian - Macedonians are regarded as South Serbs or as an exotic form of Serb much like Montenegrins !

The 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising in Macedonia had the unintended consequence of letting Greater Serb nationalists such as Vojislav Seselj and Slobodan Milosevic off the hook in the eyes of some Macedonians. However, a large body of Macedonians can see that a Greater Serbia mania feeds a Greater Albanian mania and vice versa. Instead of critiquing Serbian cultural hegemony, which Macedonian “internationalists” themselves indulge in, the easy and lazy option has been to pin the blame on alleged “ultra Macedonian extremism.”

American writer Chris Deliso has explaind that by their very nature Macedonians are generally submissive and have to be prodded into action. This tallies with Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia…and with the observations of Misha Glenny.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

JNA DOWN - Slovenia’s brave fight for freedom

1991 - We have an Mi-8 down, JNA chopper is down…. JNA bird is down..
JNA helicopter brought down in Slovenia's fight for freedom.. 
JNA = Yugoslav People’s Army.

by Sasha Uzunov 

On the 25th of June 1991 Slovenia and Croatia both declared their independence from Yugoslavia, and ultimately opened up the door for Macedonian independence on 8 September 1991.

Slovenia had become disenchanted with rising Serbian nationalism in Yugoslavia and matters came to head with the advent of Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic, with his plans for a transformation of communist Federal Yugoslavia into a more centralised state, under tighter control by Belgrade and later of a Greater Serbia.

Top: Ante Markovic (the last Prime Minister of Federal Yugoslavia - 1989-91. Bottom left: General Veljko Kadijevic, Federal Defence Minister; Slobodan Milosevic; Vlado Kambovski.


In 1990 - Slovenia was warned in the Federal Yugoslav parliament by the then Justice Minister, Vlado Kambovski, a Macedonian, with the possible threat of violence if it dared secede.

"The government will ''undertake energetic steps to protect reforms and objective, common interests of all peoples and nationalities'' in Yugoslavia, Kambovski said without elaboration.”

Kambovski was doing the bidding of Milosevic and gave him the legal “cover” he would later use, when he ordered JNA tanks to invade Slovenia on 26 June 1991, a day after Slovenia declared independence.

In December 1991, Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic resigned whilst Kambovski stayed on until June 1992, almost a year after his home republic of Macedonia declared its independence in September 1991... By staying on until June 1992, Kambovski in effect was agreeing with Milosevic's policies and behaviour. Kambovski did not resign in June 1992, his position ceased to exist as SFR Yugoslavia ceased to exist, meaning he stayed on till the last minute… Why Kambovski was never indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague remains a mystery

Markovic, later testified as a witness in Milosevic's trial at the Hague in 2003:

Ante Marković, who was Prime Minister of Yugoslavia from March 1989 until his resignation in December 1991, said that this was the first time in the past twelve years that he had made public his views on these events.

In his subsequent testimony against the former president of FRY, Yugoslavia’s last premier Ante Marković said that during the 1990s Milošević was ‘obviously striving to create a Greater Serbia. He said one thing and did another. He said that he was fighting for Yugoslavia, while it was clear that he was fighting for a Greater Serbia, even though he never said so personally to me.’

Testifying about military activities in 1991, he described the attack on Slovenia of 26 June for which some hold him responsible. He insisted that he was not responsible for it, and that as prime minister he had no control over the JNA. The Slovenian president Milan Kučan informed him about the attack by telephone, while the Yugoslav minister of defence Veljko Kadijević told him: ‘Since we knew you wouldn’t agree, we didn’t bother to ask you.’


DIGNITY IN THE FACE OF FEAR - "The right to dream." 26 June 1991 - President of Slovenia Milan Kucan made a simple but dignified and moving speech delivered against a backdrop of tension, fear, and impending invasion...from the more powerful Federal Yugoslavist armed forces in its bid to crush Slovenia's right to independence. Even now when you watch the video, you can feel the earie tension, the calm before the storm.

President Kucan:

"With a birth a man acquires the right to dream. With work we acquire the right to advance one's life dreams.

"Yesterday we combined both for the Slovenes who once dreamt of this and for future generations who will build a new world.

"Now we shall enter a family of free, independent nations.

"We cannot understand how this can intimidate anyone because we offer everyone our open hearts and a welcoming hand."

GAVRILO PRINCIP - the bullet that started World War I ! ZORAN DERNOVSEK - the rocket that ended Yugoslavist rule and opened the door for Macedonian independence.

Gavrilo Princip remains a controversial figure - the teenage Bosnian Serb who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo - some regard him a hero, others a misguided, angry naive terrorist manipulated by Serb nationalists. In terms of Macedonian history, Princip is a very marginal figure at best. The onset of World War I didn’t change Macedonia’s situation - it remained partitioned by Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria and devasted by the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

But the Princip narrative, which is largely a Serbian-Yugoslavist one, still gets emphasis in Macedonia, whilst Zoran Dernovsek, the Slovenian soldier who fired the rocket on the 27 June 1991 which opened up the path for Macedonian independence, for the first time in a millennium, is largely ignored.

One proponent of the Princip-Yugoslavist narrative in Macedonia is Balkan Insight reporter Sinisa Jakov Marusic who in a “collective effort” with other Balkan Insight reporters focused on Princip’s tenuous link to Macedonia but oddly left out Slovenia, which was at the time of World War I, under Austro-Hungarian rule. Princip’s assassination had an enormous impact upon Slovenia. see link

Meet the brave man, Zoran Dernovšek, who helped end Belgrade's Federalist rule in Slovenia and who opened the door for Macedonia's independence.

For some strange reason Macedonia's media - both government and opposition - are obsessed with Vojislav Seselj, Alexander Vucic, Srdja Popovic, Zoran Vraniskovski, Ceca, Gavrilo Princip and so on.

Dernovšek, a Slovenian Territorial Defence soldier, brought down one of the two JNA choppers and averted a massacre of Slovenian civilians.

His account:

"Mi-8 was the first aircraft of Yugoslav Army brought down in wars in Yugoslavia.

"It was hit and brought down on 27th June 1991 at 18.35 close to the village Ig (Mah) near Ljubljana (capital city of Slovenia), just about 5 seconds prior it opened fire on Training camp of Slovenian Territorial Defence and village itself. The destroyed helicopter was lead chopper of three Mi-8 fully armed helicopters with the mission of destroying the training camp and the Ig village by rocket attack and by deploying airborne special forces of Yugoslav Army from Niš, Serbia.

"It was a clear case of self - defence act where about 4,500 people were saved from certain death or injury.

"Next hit down was Gazelle Sa-341 at 19.20 in the same day, close to parliament building in capital city of Ljubljana.”

The Ten-Day War (Slovene: desetdnevna vojna) or the Slovenian Independence War (slovenska osamosvojitvena vojna), also the Weekend War (vikend-vojna) was a brief war of independence that followed the Slovenian declaration of independence on 25 June 1991. It was fought between the Slovenian Territorial Defence (Slovene: Teritorialna obramba Republike Slovenije) and the Yugoslav People's Army (YPA). It lasted from 27 June 1991 until 7 July 1991, when the Brioni Accords were signed.

YUGOSLAV ARMY COLONEL - Aksientijevic: as soon as the rocket hit, Yugoslavia was finished. source: BBC documentary.

Friday, June 17, 2016

LEVICA MANIFESTO: no “foreign interference"

EXCLUSIVE - Breaking news - Levica rules out Serb protest - Leader Branimir Jovanovic responds to our question:

The Levica (Leftist) Movement, one of the groups leading the Colour Revolution in Macedonia, aimed at removing the VMRO-DPMNE government led by Nikola Gruevski has ruled out a protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital.

Recently, Colour Revolutionists protested against Croatian MEP Marijana Petir during her brief visit to Macedonia and her offering support to leader Gruevski.

Serbia's Prime Minister Alexander Vucic has been a stronger and longer supporter of deposed Macedonian PM Gruevski but so far Colour Revolutionists have not held any demonstrations outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, over that very close relationship.

Levica leader Branimir Jovanovic via email said he would only protest against the Serbian government if PM Vucic physically arrived in Macedonia and opened his mouth; this despite Levica's recent manifesto that it would oppose all elites and foreign interference in Macedonia.

Mr Jovanovic's statement:

"Petir was targeted because she came to Macedonia and supported the regime. If Vucic comes and does the same, I'm pretty sure the same will happen.”

According to Macedonian pundit Borjan Jovanovski Serbia's state controlled nationalistic tabloid media incites hatred between Macedonians and Albanians in Macedonians.

So far no protest has ever been held by Macedonian activists against the Serb state controlled media's attempts to interfere by fomenting ethnic strife in Macedonia.

Likewise, no protests were held outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje last year when the Serbian High Court rehabilitated a controversial World War II leader Draza Mihailovic, a Serb nationalist who advocated a Greater Serbia that would include Macedonia, and whose followers collaborated with the Nazis.

During World War II, Mihailovic sent a Serbian Chetnik Army into Macedonia to destroy Macedonia's Partizan Resistence, which had to fight the Nazi and Bulgarian occupiers.

Under the Vucic regime, Serbian nationalism has made a comeback and the Belgrade regime has one of the worst human rights records in Europe.

LEVICA’S MANIFESTO - against elites and “foreign interference."

The Leftist (Levica) movement in Macedonia, one of the major participants in the Colour Revolution, has issued a manifesto denouncing FOREIGN interference in Macedonia.

So far Levica has not held protests outside the US, Russian, British, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian or Kosovo Embassies or EU liaison offices...in Skopje, Macedonia…which to varying degrees "interfere..."


Monday, May 16, 2016


By Sasha Uzunov

Mr Vladimir Lazarevik, a former Macedonian government minister and staunch critic of his one time leader, ex Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, has told TEAM UZUNOV he will not be calling for a protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital over Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic’s long term support of Gruevski.

This despite Croatian Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir being the subject of a Colour Revolution protest during her brief trip to Macedonia recently and comments in support of the deposed Prime Minister.

Mr Lazarevik was asked if a protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje would be held in order to to avoid a perceived bias against Croatian politician Ms Petir and as Vucic’s involvement with Gruevski was much deeper.

"I may carry a Serbian surname but consider myself to be Macedonian” Mr Lazarevik said.

"I see no purpose in protests outside the Serbian embassy. I think although both leaders have many similarities, Gruevski is much worse and in much more difficult political and legal position. He is facing jail.”

"I also think political problems should be solved within the borders of each country and by its people. International support is welcomed, but change only comes from within. If we do not succeed in changing the political landscape as it is now, than that is what we deserve. The same goes for Serbia,” he said.

However, another critic of ex-PM Gruevski, Mr Borjan Jovanovski has on Twitter in the past called for protests in front of Hungarian embassies across Europe over migrant issues but remained silent on Twitter over last year’s controversial decision by the Serbian High Court, at the instigation of PM Vucic, to rehabilitate World War II leader and ultra Serb nationalist Draza Mihailovic, who was anti-Macedonian, Croat, Muslim Bosnian and Albanian.

Mr Robert “Bob” Spasenoski, is a former Australian Federal Policeman who lives in Macedonia, and is a long time Macedonian activist. He is a member of a dissident faction of VMRO-DPMNE, which is opposed to party leader Gruevski, and supports the Colour Revolution, he has explained to TEAM UZUNOV:

"It is very easy to stir anti-Croat feeling in Macedonia, against Serbia it is almost impossible. Macedonians are, in the large, so close to the Serbs. As to why, indoctrinated over the years. No one thus far, at least officially, has ever spoken or said anything negative about Serbia.

"…How can Macedonians be so pro Serb, and so anti Croat in Macedonia, I dont know and I will never understand...except to say, that the Communist regime had achieved its goal, to make the best Yugoslavs and best Belgrade supporters in the entire of Yugoslavia, that is, the Macedonians...The Macedonians from the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, are the best Yugoslavs and more Serb than the Serbs themselves in some cases…”

Mr Vucic began his career as a young ultra Serb nationalist in the early 1990s by associating with hardcore extremists such as Vojislav Seselj. Mr Vucic, in an infamous speech in 1995, once declared that for every one Bosnian Serb killed in the Bosnian war, a hundred Muslim Bosnians would be killed.

During his tenure as Prime Minister, he has imprisoned over 80 opponents and Serb journalists, and condemned for abusing human rights. However, the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, has praised him.

Nikola Gruevski and Alexander Vucic developed a very close working relationship, so much so that both countries agreed to share embassies; hold joint cabinet meetings. Gruevski’s relationship with Vucic is much deeper than the one with Marijana Petir, who has been a strong advocate for Macedonia in the European Parliament against Greek nationalistic politicians from both the left and right over their continued negation of Macedonia and its name.

Related stories 
EX-COP & THE COLOUR REVOLUTION - Macedonia ! - link
MODERN HISTORY WARS - Macedonia - link
The Blame Game II - link 
The Blame Game - link

Going over to the Belgradists?

NIKOLA DIMITROV - Team Uzunov has contacted former Macedonian Ambassador to the US and one of those leading the opposition to ex-PM Gruevski for a comment on whether he would be calling for a protest outisde the Serbian Embassy in Skopje. As yet Mr Dimitrov has not responded to our request.

Seasoned observers, including fierce opponents of Nikola Gruevski’s authoritarian style, have told TEAM UZUNOV they remain puzzled by Dimitrov’s “erratic behaviour” and his “going over to the Belgradists.”

Mr Nestor Oginar, a dissident VMRO-DPMNE member and a prominent American-Macedonian leader, has told TEAM UZUNOV:

"I have known Dimitrov's parents, Dimitar and Ratka, for many years. They are communists with proclaimed Bulgarian dispositions. It is possible that young Nikola has found it more profitable to posture as a" Belgradist" in public in order to counter balance his parents' exposed identities.This is an old and odd game played out on our soil for generations. The same game, albeit somewhat blurred by Gruevski, Zaev and Ahmeti as agents of the centrifugal Macedonian forces.”

Dimitar Dimitrov (1937-) was a writer and academic in Tito’s Yugoslavia, known for his pro-Bulgarian sympathies. He became a government minister in post 1991 Macedonia. see link

To the uninitiated, Macedonia’s political and cultural elite is notorious for changing sides or for being drawn to where power emanates from. One infamous case is Vlado Kambovski, who was the last Federal Yugoslav Minister of Justice. In 1990 he threatened Slovenia with violence if it seceded. When his home republic of Macedonia broke away from Yugoslavia in September 1991, he remained in Belgrade, despite Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic resigning in December 1991 having lost control to Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Kambovski was virtually kicked out of Belgrade after Yugoslavia ceased to exist. He then repackaged himself as a “Macedonian patriot” serving as Macedonian Justice Minister and later a Gruevski appointee as President of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU) where he peddled a bizarre proposal to hold joint-Ilinden commemorations with Bulgaria, which does not recognise the existence of a Macedonian nationality, only a nation-state.

That sums ups Gruevski’s dysfunctional foreign policy to some extent - the bizarre joint Embassies with Serbia whilst rehabilitating controversial pro Bulgarian historical figures such as Todor Alexandrov. see link.

Nikola Dimitrov was seen as a protege of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski (1998-2002), who has since revealed his pro-Bulgarian sympathies. Dimitrov was Georgievski’s man and appointed Macedonia’s Ambassador to the US at a relatively young age in 2002. Before this he was a security advisor to Macedonia’s President Boris Trajkovski (1999-2004) during the 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising / war.

Dimitrov has been praising and eulogising Belgrade nightlife as well as attending an “internationalist” conference in the Serbian capital. That seems completely out of character.

The centre of power in the Balkans has again shifted towards Belgrade as Serbia and the United States have begun to reconcile. Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic has been able to get away with rehabilitating controversial figure from World War II Draza Mihailovic who was anti Macedonian, Croat, Muslim Bosnian and Albanian.

A leading Macedonian “Belgradist” is pundit Borjan Jovanovski, a former media advisor to President Trajkovski. Jovanovski comes from a powerful Yugoslavist political dynasty founded by his father, Meto Jovanovski, writer and head of foreign programming of Radio Televizija Skopje (RTS), the forerunner of Macedonian state broadcaster, during the 1980s. The Jovanovskis, despite recent attempts to whitewash themselves as “dissidents” were loyal Yugoslavists and Belgradists.

Dimitrov in his opposition to Gruevski has linked arms with Jovanovski.

Monday, May 09, 2016


by Sasha Uzunov

Robert “Bob” Spasenoski, a long time Australian-Macedonian activist, emigrated to Australia in 1969 and went onto become an Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer (motorcycle section) who during his career in the early 1980s was tasked with guarding visiting Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, as well as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and Australian Governor General Sir Zelman Cowen.
He is now semi-retired and returned to his native Macedonia in 2009 to live. After the leaving the AFP, Spasenoski was active in the Canberra-Queanbeyan Macedonian community in the 1980s and one of the first member of VMRO-DPMNE party in Australia. He belongs to a faction that opposes leader Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of Macedonia from 2006-2016.

He has swing his support behind Macedonia’s “Colour Revolution” - a movement to change the VMRO-DPMNE government in Macedonia.
Mr Spasenoski’s previous activities in Australia.
Canberra landmark capped off at last
The Canberra Times (ACT) - Saturday 19 December 1987
Building worker Mr Robert Giammaria, of Sydney, on the scaffolding at the Church of St Climent of Ohrid at Narrabundah yesterday, when the roof was sealed.
The fibreglass cross lies waiting in the church to be installed. Later, it was put carefully into place by a crane.
The top of one of Canberra's most recognisable landmarks, the Macedonian Orthodox Church of St Climent of Ohrid at Narrabundah, was literally capped off yesterday five years after construction of the unique green-domed building began.
A crane was carefully used to lift the triple-tiered fibreglass cross on the top of the dome, sealing off the roof.
The job was completed with out any difficulties, much to the relief of the president of the church construction committee, Mr Bob Spasenoski, and secre tary, Mr Con Mazenco, who were on hand to witness the his toric moment.
Mr Spasenoski predicts the opening will be held in May, providing delays of the kind which have dogged construction in the past do not interfere. He says that, by that time, about $500,000 will have been spent on the church.

ROBERT SPASENOSKI: I support every protest, every demonstration by the people, whether they call it colour or colourless..however I am also against hooligans, rent-a-crowd and paid provocateurs..I don’t support violence and destruction of property...Democracy, I believe, includes the right to protest, as you know…
I am still a VMRO-DPMNE member, but aligned with "Forum na Slobodoumni Patrioti", working to clean up VMRO DPMNE of the criminal leadership, and bring it to be what it was set out to be…people's political party, for the benefit of the Macedonian Nation and its peoples..
"Yes in total oposition to Gruevski and his clan..”

- LINGERING SERBIAN CULTURAL HEGEMONY? Creeping anti-Croat sentiment

Question: Mr Spasenoski, you’re an astute observer, you were trained by one of the best police forces in the world, the Australian Federal Police (AFP)...
Shouldn't there be a protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje by the Colour Revolutionists? Croatian Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir, was barely 5 minutes in Macedonia, targeted for simply meeting with VMRO-DPMNE officials in SKOPJE, but Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic had a very close relationship with Nikola Gruevski. Vucic has been condemned by some of the anti-Macedonian government protesters.
In 2015 - Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic brought his government to SKOPJE to "collaborate" with Grujo, yet there was no protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje.
Quote: “We have a lot to learn from our Macedonian friends,” Vucic said. Vucic gave Gruevski an endorsement. Why no protests? Why the inconsistency?

A failure to hold such a protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje indicates an inconsistency, a hint of an anti-CROAT bias. Your thoughts?
ROBERT SPASENOSKI: It is very easy to stir up anti-Croat feeling in Macedonia; against Serbia it is almost impossible. Macedonians are, in the large, so close to the Serbs. As to why, indoctrinated over the years. No one thus far, at least officially, has ever spoken or said anything negative about Serbia.
In my years as an activist in Australia for the Macedonian cause, spanning from 1985 to 2009, I had always the support of the Croatian organisations in Australia, never the Serb organisations. I was in many instances referred to as South Serbian by the Serbs, which resulted in many arguments and fisticuffs..
However, the Croatian movement was always present at our demonstrations, as can be seen by their flags being waived together with the Macedonians...

…How can Macedonians be so pro Serb, and so anti Croat in Macedonia, I dont know and I will never understand...except to say, that the Communist regime had achieved its goal, to make the best Yugoslavs and best Belgrade supporters in the entire of Yugoslavia, that is, the Macedonians...The Macedonians from the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, are the best Yugoslavs and more Serb than the Serbs themselves in some cases…
Full interview with Robert Spasenoski will follow soon.

Related stories - link

Friday, April 29, 2016


Photo: Martin Anastasovski (left) with a man he bumped into in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, who turned out to be a penniless Syrian refugee on his way to Vienna. Martin gave the man some money to pay for his bus ticket to the Serbian border.

by Sasha Uzunov

TEAM UZUNOV, in trying to offer a wide variety of voices over the political crisis in Macedonia, speaks to a Macedonian man, Martin Anastasovski, and ask why is he protesting.

Martin has resided in Skopje since 2013, after living in the United States nearly half his life. He translates books and essays on topics relevant to the development of society; he works with disadvantaged children in  the Roma community and helps build business relations between Macedonia and the diaspora.

Question 1: Why are you protesting?

Martin Anastasovski: I went out to protest because i feel that this government can't bring the kind of change our country needs to prosper. This government had a historic chance to improve the image of Macedonia for its own people and to take the country to the next level, but it fell into the trappings that come with power and popularity. The government had plenty of resources at its disposal to bring the Macedonian society up to speed with the European norm in terms of healthcare, education, culture, civic life, social development, business, etc. There are too many examples which demonstrate that the people who run the country never had the right idea how things should be done. Nepotism and political cronyism played a big role in that. You can't have good results across the board unless you have the best people in each area of governance. All these years the government thought it can maintain good public support through public relation stunts, but Macedonians have learned to tell apart substance from triviality. The taped conversations simply enabled the public to hear some politicians think and why the country has sunk this low. 

Question 2: What is your prognosis for the future if SDSM came to power? What advice would you give to either SDSM or VMRO-DPMNE was given another mandate? 

Martin Anastasovski: This is the most complicated political situation in Macedonian history. If or when SDSM comes to power, they will spend lots of time and energy on purging government bodies and ministries of VMRO-DPMNE party cadre. That is almost a given, but because the administration now employs more people than ever before, that process will be painstaking and tiresome and will put the country into a gridlock for months. After being in opposition for more than a decade, SDSM will need time to get a grip on things. But the burning question is what is going to happen to the people who are implicated in the recorded conversations? The civic opposition wants them prosecuted so that something like this can never happen to Macedonia again, but it will set a precedent. There are many people who suffered under SDSM when state companies were being privatized, so they will seek their own justice, they will want to prosecute other public figures who are now faded in the background. 
The only advice is for us to have a process of national reconciliation. This disruption is a rare chance to start with a clean slate. The public has to come to a deeper, broader understanding of what has been going on. We have to leave out all speculations about some purported dark forces from outside controlling everything that is going on in the country. We have to realize that it has been us all along. Macedonians in the ethnic and national sense have brought and acted on decisions which have landed the country in a ditch. I am not saying that we exist in a geopolitical vacuum, but we have our own state which enables people to make good decisions. In great part, we are where we are because people have made very poor decisions at the local and national levels, at every imaginable level of the hierarchy of decision-making. This is the result of having weak institutions. No Macedonian government has ever encouraged independent thinking and doing in the institutions of the Government. We as a society have enabled a culture that allows politicians to be off limits, virtually untouchable. To reconcile means to understand and to accept that our collective mentality is the product of fear, greed and impunity and that public servants and decision-makers never had any better examples to follow. This is not going to erase from our collective memory what we already know about this government, but we have to start somewhere. Please don’t get me wrong, there is and there will be chaos in the period to come, but at the same time we have to generate an opposite polarity that will be rational and that will pull the nation towards a safer place from where we can contemplate a better future for Macedonia. In the meantime, people should ask themselves, “can we forgive them in order to save ourselves?” 

Question 3: Your thoughts on Macedonia’s name and possible federalisation? 

Martin Anastasovski: The dignity of the Macedonian people rests on the name Macedonia and this is deeply rooted to the suffering of its people, the fight for freedom and human rights. This is the main argument in defense of us preserving our name. The European Union, however, doesn’t like to hear about the suffering of any nation because their countries have either caused suffering to others or their own nations have suffered under various circumstances. We are not going to get any sympathy and to an extent that is good, because sympathy will cause the nation to become entrenched in a victim’s mentality as it has been the case especially since 2008. We shouldn’t want to see the world from the position of a victim. Instead we should make steps in proving that this is a country worth in and of itself. We should build up our human capacity and be proactive in the ways in which we interact with other countries. Unfortunately, the protracted political situation doesn’t give me too much hope to think that we will change in a way that is going to bring out the best of us. But let’s keep an open mind. In the meantime, the “name issue” and Macedonia becoming part of NATO rests on the scope of understanding and the amount of patience among decision-makers abroad. This is contingent on the currents of geopolitics and for that very reason Macedonia needs to look beyond party politics. The topic of federalization demands broader analysis. The Albanian factor pressing for federalization is tied to Macedonia becoming part of the EU and NATO and the state of politics within the country. The general impression is that people are “stuck” within a political context that puts limits on development and prosperity. On the other hand Macedonians have to have a country that is wholesome and the state must preserve its sovereignty, while at the same time adapting to the changing realities. 

Question 4: There was some vandalism of Macedonian monuments by protestors. Were you alarmed? (see link)

Martin Anastasovski: On the second day of the protest a rather large mass of people gathered in front of the Sobranie [Parliament]. You could tell that people came on their own will because there was a positive atmosphere, you could feel the excitement in the air. I was feeling optimistic that the protest will gain momentum, increase in numbers and raise the awareness of the Macedonian public. When people began to throw eggs and paint at the triumphal arch my mood soured. But I kept an open mind, thinking this is going to be the only building or monument that takes some heat, simply because it is a sore spot, completely out of place, despised by too many people. The next day the protesters were pelting the arch again, threw paint, scribbled graffiti on it and this is where I knew that some people are hell-bent on vandalizing the Skopje 2014 project, which includes monuments that are of sentimental value to me personally and to many people in Macedonia and abroad. Because of a group of selfish people, the protest sent all the wrong messages to the general public in Macedonia and the world. I visited the protest few times since, as an observer, and I didn’t feel the same enthusiasm from within. I imagined it would become a vehicle that will take Macedonia to the next level, but it didn’t because there is too much aggression in it and too little genuine care for the country as a whole. If the protest becomes more inclusive I will be happy to join again.

Question 5: Macedonian society is a divided along strong political party lines now, how can the people be unified? 

Martin Anastasovski: Unity is an abstract idea. A nation cannot be “united” because that would imply that people don’t have an opinion on critical issues which their lives depend on within the shared living space. Macedonians think that the nation is disunited and that depresses a lot of people. But it shouldn’t be so. The histories of many nations are marked by competing factions. Competition yields the best ideas that resolute individuals pick up on and bring into practice. This is where we need to reflect on Goce Delchev’s famous thought in which he gives the attribute “cultured” (with which he means fair) to the word “competition”: Kulturen natprevar. He had figured out one of the preconditions for a better society. That being said, at their best, nations can enjoy a period of time in which most of the people agree on an important issue or on a certain way of life. In Macedonia, we need to have a cultured competition between perceptions, opinions and ideas. 
However, I am not convinced that the political class of the day is capable for that level of discourse. It seems that politicians are not politically practical and don’t compete for the sake of competition. In the current political divide they have to disgrace their opponent and annul their views as either outlandish (in respect to society) or venomous (to the state). In my view Macedonia may come to enjoy a period in which most people agree with one another on important issues, when there will appear dissenters within the political parties who are going to criticize the perceptions, opinions, ideas and actions in their own party. This has to be done publically through the media, by writing op-ed pieces or by appearing in talk shows so that the people emerge out of the black or white world of party politics. Respectable social and political commentators will need to take the responsibility of putting into perspective the essential points that may arise out of this criticism, that are relevant to the country’s wellbeing and progress. I think the National public radio and television service need to take the lead and to finally start serving the public’s interest. 
If there isn’t dissent within the parties it would mean that that neither party has the internal democratic capacity that should be publically recognized as a prerequisite that is needed for competing in national politics. Political parties must present their core beliefs to the constituents. Otherwise, how would we know on what ideological and theoretical basis they will organize and manage the development of our society? What are the economic/existential principles in whose light they will present solutions to the problems that challenge the livelihoods of people? 

Question 6: Was Macedonian President George Ivanov correct in giving an unprecedented 56 pre-emptive pardons?

Martin Anastasovski: The opposition claims this was VMRO’s move and was intended to ignite a crisis that will prolong a looming moment of truth for them. Others think Ivanov’s objective was to “even-out” the playing field so that SDSM participates in the elections, to supposedly appease the opposition by pardoning its leader. There are many legal issues that render the pardons unconstitutional. The President never stated what charges the individuals are relieved of. Macedonian politics have become a gladiator arena, a fight to the death. This is not about the people anymore, it is about the ambitions and fears of political factions and their clients/partners. Macedonia doesn’t have an influential political practitioner, precisely the one who is in the role of President, who will use his or her authority to arbitrate between good and bad decisions in the political arena. The pardons didn’t resolve the political crisis, but deepened it even further. The planned talks in Vienna did not take place and the elections are not going to happen. In light of how complicated the situation is, Macedonia needs a national dialogue and a healthy, non-violent protest in which all Macedonians will participate.